Monday, October 18, 2010

Rain and the arena.

The rain started late in the afternoon Wednesday last week. It had been August 23rd since we had more than a sprinkle of rain in Louisville. The weather heads had maps showing the approach of rain, so it was predicted. I was skeptical as this kind of thing had happened several times during the past six weeks without result.
From the New Yorker, October 18, 2010 issue.  I scanned it so no link.
I had been reading and dozed off sitting up with the book fallen from my hands. The cat must have heard it approaching as she came running up the steps to sit near the chair. Her growl woke me.

There on the skylights was rain. I sat at the top of the steps looking out the smeared window as water fell onto the dry acre out back. It was pouring so after a while I went downstairs to stand at the door watching. There's something comforting about a hard rain after a long dry spell.

It continued all night and early the next day. The rain had left traces on the asphalt parking lot. Moisture had already gone from the big pot of lavender by the door. The grass was still brown and it wasn't long until leaves crackled again with the bunny family moving in and out of their den under the holly bush.

By afternoon you wouldn't have known it rained at all.

At Keeneland the turf course was a bright green and the horses running over it were beautiful, dark and fleet. But off that ribbon of grass the lawn around the clubhouse was brown and dry.
From the Courier-Journal, October 17, 2010
The $256 million Yum Center opened Saturday night for the first performance. The Eagles came to town to excite and entertain us. The previous week the police and mayor had a press conference where they reviewed the way traffic moves around the new building now. One hundred police officers were assigned to help with all the cars expected. Extra TARC buses were being put on the route. An official counted all the on street, off street and garage parking within five blocks of the arena and our Mayor announced, "There are 19,000 parking spaces nearby."

Yet ticket holders to the Eagles' performance were told to get to the arena early. No one wanted to talk about getting home afterwards.

The restaurants near the venue were all excited and new menus had been previewed. Extra help was put on shift and provisions bought. The effort was justified. Waits for dinner were over an hour everywhere, though most believed the wait was exacerbated by people who had eaten a late afternoon meal and were sitting at their table waiting to walk to the arena, thereby hogging the seats for later diners.

The Mayor had tickets and was being interviewed just prior to the show starting, "There are thousands of people walking on the streets this evening. This is the kind of thing a mayor likes to see." Well I think we all appreciated seeing real live suburbanites on the streets of downtown Louisville near dark. It's something that's seldom been seen since the late '60's, when most all entertainment was downtown.

Today there was a letter to the editor in the local paper. The writer had been to the Eagles' concert Saturday night and thought it was a great one. They even had compliments for the wonderful lux NBA worthy arena. But they said they would miss our old arena Freedom Hall. I will miss that place too.

I remember going to my first Toys for Tots concert there.  I went with a GI I had met at a USO dance.  It was 1969 and he finished his training at Ft. Knox.   We both thought he was going off to Vietnam.  We walked two miles from my apartment in the December cold to the arena.  I wore my brown Chesterfield coat, dress shoes, stockings and my nicest Sunday-go-to-meeting dress.  He wore his Army green uniform.  We were the best dressed and most sober people there.  Everyone else at the concert was stoned out of their minds in tie dye and bell bottoms.

Somehow I don't think the YUM Center will ever have that ambience.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A pistol in the hand vs a hand full of rocks and traveling cows.

Saturday afternoon this past week end, Andrew Elliott, 15 said good-bye to his mother and went to spend the night at a friend's home several miles away. Later that evening he and two of his friends were walking the streets of Louisville near the friend's home. They were confronted by Archie Ashley when a rock hit his car parked in front of his home.

There were three rock throwing incidents in front of Mr. Ashley's house Saturday evening. The first time Mr. Ashley confronted the boys and they left. Again rocks were thrown and Mr. Ashley confronted them with a baseball bat. The last time rocks were again thrown, Mr. Ashley confronted them and this time pulled a gun out of his pocket firing two shots at the boys running away. Andrew Elliot was shot in the back and died.

The man picked up his spent shells, went back in his house and hid the shell casings and gun. The police came. Archie Ashley was arrested.

He was charged with murder and tampering with evidence. When arraigned Tuesday.  His attorney entered a plea of not guilty for Mr. Ashley.   He is being held in the local jail on a $500K bond.  His family commented later that this event was sad. Mr. Ashley had an ongoing dispute with kids in the neighborhood throwing rocks but Andrew was not one of them. The police had no record of ever being called before to his house.

Andrew's family thanked the police for a speedy arrest. [Paraphrasing here] "There was no cause for this. He could have handled it another way. He could have called for the police or whatever. There was no reason for this. A fifteen year old boy should never be shot in the back for throwing a rock." His grandmother said she wanted Mr. Ashley executed.

Andrew Elliott's funeral mass and burial was today at his church.

One of Andrew's friends stated they had walked past Mr. Ashley's home only once that evening.

Mr. Ashley said there were three incidents and the shooting occurred after the third one.
Today in a New York Times article Emma Graves Fitzsimmons wrote an article about UPS handling the shipping of 2000 Angus and Hereford cattle to the nation of Kazakhstan. The first shipment was 162 head loaded on a UPS plane in North Dakota Tuesday. These are cattle uniquely suited for the bitter cold of the central Asian nation.

Quoting Doug Goehring, the North Dakota agricultural commissioner:
"The region they're going to mirrors the Midwest. Our cattle are northern bred and can handle extreme climates."
The government of Kazakhstan is trying to rebuild the country's livestock industry which was depleted since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The project is facilitated through an agreement between Kazakhstan and Global Beef Consultants.
"This shipment is a first for UPS which has moved pandas and sharks before but never cattle," said Ronna Branch, a spokeswoman for the company. "We ship large things," Ms. Branch said, "But I'll say this is the first time that we have shipped cows.
A veterinarian and a few cowboys accompanied the cattle to tend to their needs. I wonder if they get food and something to drink without extra charge.
United Parcel Service has a Worldport hub in Louisville. It processes slightly less than a half million packages an hour or over 84 a second. These are primarily express and international packages and letters. They employ over 20,000 people and will hire 50,000 additional short time workers for the holidays. During the holidays they will ship millions of packages daily.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Your beliefs and political evangelism

Do you notice when you have a conversation with some one your opinions solidify. I read and listen and watch so much I think my mind will explode. But today in a conversation with a long time friend I said, "I don't believe in political evangelism." I don't think I've ever heard the term but I could be wrong.

The friend agreed and we seldom do agree on political matters.

Being me I think every one has the right to their beliefs. I also think they should be able to defend them, but whatever your thinking it is your own. I think my opinions are more correct than anyone else's of course, but I have no need to set anyone straight.

I was raised by my Mom, a woman who believed her views on religion and God were best. She told me once that it was my Christian duty to tell everyone the news about Jesus Christ and further tell them that if they didn't follow Jesus they would burn in hell. This was after I had learned to read and had discovered there were other religions in the world. She was an active member of the Missionary Society in her church until just before she died. I remember the big box of bandages sitting in her living room and the annual wrestle with the post office for the most economical way to ship it.
If I had stayed on the farm, if I had not left home and gone to college, if I had married the boy from my small town instead of a man I met at school, I can visualize myself believing much the way Mom did. But I did leave and the world is diverse.

It is a good thing to become acquainted with those unlike you. When you do you become friends with a variety of people. You discover moms and dads want the same things for their children, no matter their ethnic origins or which God they worship. You find it is necessary to listen to another idea. It also requires you to think about your beliefs and be able to defend them in reasonable debate. In a good conversation both parties listen to the other. The result is both parties to the conversation learn.

A favorite columnist wrote a rare piece for the local paper today. I lived most of my adult life reading his columns on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Then he retired. By all accounts he's happy in retirement; gardening like Martha on a great piece of land in Southern Indiana, hosting a radio gardening show on public radio, writing books and ever so often writing something for the paper.

When he wrote for us regularly the paper was more anticipated. A co-worker reminded me today that on Tuesdays I'd remark about it being a good day since Bob Hill's column would be in the paper! It was like when Life magazine arrived and it felt like a better day because of it.
I've included a link to today's article: .

His newspaper writing is always tinged with a little humor. He tries to get us to not take everything so seriously and speak up being proactive when things threaten to go off the rails. There is so much hate and fear in the casual media these days. The times I wake up and turn on the TV seeing the broadcast news morning show hosts interviewing a grieving family about one tragedy or another are too many to count. I call that first 30 minutes of those shows the "grief interview."

Every news program has a "breaking news" time where the latest house fire or traffic death is breathlessly reported. I'd like breaking news to be an interview with the kid who worked two jobs and whose parents saved for his education until he finally graduated and got good work.

Those of you who thrive on the chaos of the world will now call me Pollyanna. I believe however that the way to make living worthwhile is to do no harm, lift up not beat down. It's also a good idea to seek light instead of darkness, and no matter how bad things can get, light an be found.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Body beating music and sitting ducks.

All of us have favorite music. We often have favorite artists or music genres. I'm no different.

I used to turn up the stereo at home while cleaning or running the vacuum, until I almost answered the door one time naked and bumped into some Jehovah Witnesses. I'd talk about that but it was not a good encounter.
I make custom CD's to play when I'm in my truck driving to and fro. I make a different one for the seasons and sometimes a different one from one month to another. I enjoy when the weather is warm driving with the windows down and my music up loud. I've been told my moderate hearing loss is from this practice. I know that's not true, it's from trying to figure out what some mumble mouthed speaker is saying on an audio tape I was transcribing by shoving the ear buds deep in my ears. Regardless, I enjoy the feeling of loud music and warm air through the windows.

When stopped at a light or in a line of slow moving traffic, the music from a nearby car will cover up the sound from mine. Sometimes it's not a tune but the beat of the music. Imagine a set of powerful drums inside a close car with a speaker system that brings the physical feel of the music into your body. I think that is so rude! My music is loud but I'm not assaulting. [Eye roll.]

I think you get the picture. I like what I like and you like what you like but don't put what you like in proximity to me. It is upsetting.

As I've said before on this blog I will often play the "Next Blog" game. That is me clicking on the next blog button on the top bar of page. It is a mildly interesting game. I find lots of good ones as my list of followed blogs will attest. But when I am doing this and pause on a particularly unique looking blog, often music will start. Since I have my sound setting on the music embedded in the page starts loud.

People nearby hear that and say, "What's that stupid music?" Of course it's not my stupid music, It's a stranger's stupid music and sometimes the tune gets in my head and I have days of it.

It's like that candidate for Governor in New York who thought sending 250,000 registered voters a piece of direct mail made with paper soaked in the smell of garbage was a good idea. It's reported that weeks later those who didn't toss it have that smell in the house.

Then there are the relentless negative political advertisements. Alright, it's not just the negative ones. I don't like most political ads because they are so repeated. When I'm trying to listen to a half hour of local or national news they crowd out all the drug ads two months before each election. How will those people afflicted with restless leg syndrome deal without being reminded all they need is to take a pill to eliminate the suffering?

The other night I counted 15 ads for a Senate and Representative seat in Kentucky. We also get the Representative seat in Indiana as we're just across the river from that state. Local judges and state Senate seats are contested and a few of their ads join the melee. Some of the most hateful of these are being bought not by the candidate but by non-profit advocacy groups.
The number of and repetition of political ads should be part of the licensing requirement for all broadcast media. In US Mail and even e.mail, we can just toss it or delete it. Unless you skillfully watch all television content through a DVR or immediately hit your mute button, you're a sitting duck.